Being cooped up indoors, especially for long periods of time, can cause a lot of health and wellness issues. For this reason, many healthcare professionals always advise getting as much sunshine and fresh air as possible. This includes going on vacations. Before you start looking to rent a vacation home in an exotic location, why not try out a favorite park instead?
Parks come in all shapes and sizes. To get away from all the stresses of daily life, a big national park should be on top of your list. And no mention of a national park would be complete without a mention of Yosemite National Park.
Yosemite is situated in Mariposa County, CA. This least broken and largest habitat is known to support a diverse array of animals and plants. Yosemite National Park is bordered on the northwest by Stanislaus National Forest and by the Sierra National Forest in the southeast.
The park is a total of 748,436 acres and has been designated a World Heritage Site since 1984.
Yosemite is home to four crucial vegetation zones: lower montane forest, upper montane forest, chaparral and oak woodland, and subalpine and alpine zones. About 20% of California’s 7,000 plant species can be found in Yosemite, while 50% exist in Sierra Nevada. Due to the park’s vast size, it remains to be a suitable habitat for over 160 rare plant species. Before you think that Yosemite is all flatlands where you can roll around in the grass, think again. Most of Yosemite’s geology is characterized by granite rocks as well as some remnants from older rock formations.
Most first-time visitors think they know what to expect. Nothing, however, compares to the spectacular view that greets them upon arrival.
Where to Stay
Like many travel destinations, hotels, motels, and resorts are very easy to come by in Yosemite. But if you are looking to truly enjoy the tranquility of this majestic spot, consider booking vacation properties and cabins.
Even better is to go all out in communing with nature by staying in one of the many campgrounds in the park. What better way to enjoy nature than by being surrounded by it as you sleep, right?
What to Do
Yosemite is known for its park and outdoor activities. Here’s a quick list of things you can do when you visit.
It is impossible to speak of Yosemite without talking about hiking. After all, there is no better way to experience the park and its wilderness than by setting out on foot and communing with nature. Whether you are planning on a solo day-hike or an intensive backpacking trail, this allows you to slow down and appreciate the little things.
Haven’t tried rafting yet? You can pick between two main locations. One is in Yosemite Valley, where the ride is mellow and smooth. The other is Merced river, where runs are thrilling and yet still an excellent starting point for newbie rafters. If you are looking to try rafting, come during the spring and summer months only.
While the days of striking it rich from easy pickings are long gone, there’s still a lot of fun to be had by gold panning. Yosemite might not be the main location these days to pan for gold, though. Nearby Mariposa County locations, however, can still satisfy your curiosity. To find gold panning attractions near your Airbnb, you can ask your host for recommendations or check with the local tourism office.
Rock climbing at Yosemite National Park isn’t just for the experienced climber. Aside from climbing natural formations, visitors can learn the ropes from the Mountaineering School & Guide Service. Once you are confident enough to explore the park, don’t forget to check out the maps and trails before venturing out.
Mariposa County and Yosemite are known for their nature and outdoors. Museum fans need not worry since there are many museums to visit. Pioneer life, stagecoaches, and replica costumes can be found in the Pioneer Yosemite History Center. Those interested in learning about Yosemite’s American Indian culture can stop by the Yosemite museum to learn more.
Skiing, ice skating, snowboarding, and other winter activities can also be done in Yosemite. Trekking, hiking, photography, and bird watching are also additional outdoor activities visitors can enjoy in the park or in attractions that are close to the vacation properties they are staying in.
Breweries & Tasting
Are you a fan of full-bodied wines? Perhaps you’re a craft brew fanatic? Either way, vintners and brewers in Mariposa County are more than happy to share the craft with its visitors. Its prime location makes it perfect for growing grapes. The hot summer months and cool nights of the Sierras contribute immensely to the ripening process of these wine grapes. Get to learn the basics and enjoy tasting sessions when you visit any of the breweries in the county.
When you’ve had your fill of outdoor activities, it’s time to get some R&R. The luxurious Ascent Spa Tenaya Lodge offers state of the art spa facilities to staying guests as well as pre-made appointments. Get facials, a relaxing massage, or a sauna session for the ultimate self-care. Don’t want to go far from your home away from home? Check out nearby spas or schedule a home visit from registered massage specialists.
Where to Eat
If you find your belly rumbling, Mariposa is filled with amazing places to eat at. Find locals and tourists in these popular dining establishments.
The Loft at Degnan’s
This loft-style restaurant has you dining amongst the trees, while comfortably being seated indoors that is. Enjoy a mix of Mexican fare, artisan pizzas and even Asian rice bowls when you dine here.
Donuts a Go Go
Located close to vacation properties in Mariposa, this donut shop is both a local and tourist favorite. Sip some freshly brewed coffee as you snack on a donut and a couple of pastries.
Pine Street Market
Stock up on some snacks before you hit the trails at Pine Tree Market. This woodsy-looking shop is located near the famous Chilnualna Falls.
Cedar Lodge Restaurant
Start your day with a hefty breakfast at Cedar Lodge Restaurant. Located just minutes away from Yosemite’s gate, this establishment is perfect for that pre- or post-hiking meal.
Before you head on back home, try out some locally made pies, breads, cookies, and sandwiches at neighborhood joining, Jantz Bakery. If you’re lucky, you might even find some seasonal favorites in the bakery.